Monthly Archives: August 2010

The most important thing I learned from Robert Kiyosaki about real estate investment was that a house isn’t an asset. It’s a liability. I don’t own it. The bank does. It costs me utilities, maintenance, insurance, taxes and interest each month. Over a 30-year loan, I will have paid over 80% in interest. I would then need to sell my house for at least three times it’s current value in order to break even.

A house is a liability because I’m still responsible for it even though I don’t own it yet. If I don’t make a payment, the bank takes the house away along with all the money I’ve put into so far. If the house burns down and I have no insurance, I still owe the bank the money I borrowed.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a homeowner. Owning a house fits my lifestyle, but I have no illusion that owning a house that I live in will make me a financial profit. People buy houses thinking they’re making an investment when in reality they’re taking on debt.

This is how I feel about dreams. INFPs think following a dream is an investment for future happiness, but sometimes it ends up costing us more than we realize.

Our Dreams as Investment

All dreams have a payoff, a Return on Investment (ROI). That ROI on achieving our dream is usually in the form of happiness and fulfillment. No one dreams great dreams that will leave them feeling unfulfilled and unhappy.

I’ve always been lucky. It started when my family had to flee my native country and start all over dirt-poor. My dad was forty and I was five. I was even luckier when the first company to employ my dad closed. I ended up moving away from my only friend at 10 years old. The luckiest thing to happen to me occurred at age 22. After months of working up the nerve to ask this girl I liked out on a date, she stood me up.

Immigrating to America allowed me an education. Had we stayed, I would be doing back-breaking labor in a country where the average annual salary is $3000 US/year. My dad getting laid off forced us to move to a city with activities that held my interest, activities unavailable in a town of 2000 people. So instead of drinking at the lake on weekends during my high school years, I was competing in fencing at the local university. Moving to a big city kept me out of trouble and out of jail.

Because the girl didn’t show, I decided to dance for the first time. I was too disappointed to be self-conscious. So that night, I discovered my love for dancing. Four years later, my future wife noticed me on the dance floor at a club. We started taking ballroom, swing and tango classes together. Those dance lessons taught us to work together to excel in a cooperative activity. They taught us about our differing learning styles and the ways we dealt with frustration and conflict. I attribute part of the success of our marriage to what we learned about each other in those early dance lessons.

I took a two month blog hiatus to turn 40 which I did exactly one week ago. Over the years, I found that many INFPs I’ve met in their 40’s and 50’s are some of the happiest people I know. So am I happier now than I was last week?

Happiness and Control

Happiness is directly proportional to the control we feel we have in fulfilling our needs.

For example, I know a few INFPs wanting new jobs. Their current one is terrible and getting worse by the hour. They’ve had good jobs turn bad before. What they did before was quit, take some time off, then sent out a zillion resumes and got rehired quickly after. They have great qualifications, but in this economy they feel stuck.

They’re more unhappy because they feel stuck. They’d be less unhappy with a bad job situation if they felt they could quit at any time and get another job immediately. If we feel we have no control in getting a job, a relationship, a fulfilling life and that something external like the economy or fate controls our ability to meet our needs, then we are unhappy.

Quick Overview of our six Critical needs: Certainty, Uncertainty, Love/Connection, Critical Significance, Growth, and Contribution.

In my early 20’s, my biggest need was Love and Connection. All I wanted was a girlfriend. I also felt I had no control over that. It seemed the only way I would ever find a significant other would be for the universe would send someone my way who would recognize something special in me. I wasn’t good at dating or meeting girls. It was up to fate. All my other accomplishments didn’t make me happier because the one thing in my life that I needed at that time, I felt I had no control over.

Happiness is about the feeling of control not the feeling of accomplishment. A few years later, I met someone. It wasn’t officially becoming boyfriend and girlfriend that made me happy. I was happy long before she became my girlfriend. It was meeting her and both of us knowing we had potential together. Having a girlfriend was no longer in control of the whims of the universe. The beyond-my-control part of the equation was out of the way because “fate” brought someone my way. Having a potential girlfriend wasn’t what made me happy. Knowing that I was the only one who could screw up from there on made me happy.