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Being ‘kiasu’ is Singapore’s strong suit: Kiyosaki

Melissa Law

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the best-selling financial self-help book "Rich Dad Poor Dad", said that being "kiasu" might be the reason why Singapore is so successful today.

In an interview with Yahoo! Singapore on Saturday, he contrasted this "scared to lose" mentality in Singapore with the mentality of other countries.

"That's really what Singapore's strong suit is — kiasu. It's in your blood. You know in Mexico, they don't have kiasu, they have Mañana, which is 'Do it tomorrow' and in Hawaii, they have 'Ain't no big thing' and they don't get anything done," he said.

Speaking at the National Achievers' Congress 2012 at the Singapore Expo, Kiyosak however, warned against complacency.

"Singapore is rich and happy at the moment and that's not good. America was like that at one point in time," he said.

When asked how to avoid getting complacent, the financial guru said, "That's why I think of myself as poor and I keep working. That's why I never think of myself as rich. I'm always in the process of getting richer."

Kiyosaki then went on to talk about how many people need a change of mindset from simply earning money to pay their bills to increasing their assets and cashflow.

"Focus on what you want to expand. If you focus on assets, your assets will expand. What people do, is they focus on expenses so expenses expand. It's like the law of psychology, you've got to change what you focus on."

At his two-hour seminar, where spoke before a thousand people, Kiyosaki also talked about the difficulty in getting really rich in Singapore as compared to America.

"The trouble with Singapore is it's a small country, limited land, five million people, smart and rich. That's a bad combination. That means in Singapore, you've gotta be really smart and really ambitious," he said.

The bright side, according to him, is that Singapore is great for business because of its "secure environment" and "secure infrastructure".

"If I were in Singapore, I would be in business, not real estate," he said. "Safety is a very important factor in money production. If you don't feel safe, you can't produce."

Commenting on the world's current economic situation, he concluded, "We have never been in this situation before. The world has never been in such a precarious situation. Anybody who says they know what's gonna happen is crazy cause at any moment, something can happen."

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