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Theory: A Valuable Life Lesson

Date: 10/09/2019

I’m proud of my 15 year old daughter, Cassie, as she’s landed her first job.

It’s working on the cash register at the local greengrocer. It’s a pretty good gig, and she’s enjoying earning money that she is saving to pay for an overseas trip she wants to go on.

The other night over dinner, I asked Cassie “Do you think people tend to do the minimum because they get paid the minimum, or do you think people who get paid the minimum tend to do the minimum?”

Looking at me as though I was making no sense, she replied “No idea, Dad.”

“Well”, I said “What should people do if they want to get paid more?”

“Do more?” Cassie mused.

“Well said! One final question… what comes first, the effort or the pay?”

“Probably the effort.”

“Interesting. So thinking about you here, if you want to earn more so you can have more money for your trip, I wonder… what extra work, or respectful ideas for improvement could contribute to show your boss that you want to do more than the minimum?”

The same teaching point can be applied to real estate investing. That is, people who do the minimum, tend to get the minimum.

Said differently, an investing law I’ve found to be proven right true and time again is that investing output (i.e. profit made), is commensurate with investing input (i.e. time, effort and skill contributed).

If you want more than the minimum, you first
have to contribute more time, effort and/or skill.

The only other option is to rely on luck and reap where you haven’t sown (i.e. garner a full time reward for a part-time effort), and while you might get lucky from time to time, no one I’ve ever met is able to claim they are consistently and reliably lucky.

The better saying is that ‘you make your own luck’, and as professional golfer Gary Player once remarked “the harder I practice, the luckier I get.”

As a reliable precursor to improving your profitability, what can you do to improve the quality or quantity of your investing inputs? That is, how can you:

  1. Increase the amount of time you allocate to your investing
  2. Improve the focus and veracity of your effort, and/or
  3. Seek further training to improve your investing skills

Asking and answering these questions will help you achieve sustained investing success.

Profile photo of Steve McKnight

By Steve McKnight

Steve McKnight, the founder of, is a respected property investing authority as well as Australia's #1 best-selling business author.


  1. Nige

    Hey Steve, That is beautiful to read, so well asked, may i borrow and ask our Miss 15, thank you for sharing. Our Miss 15 was recently volunteering, and i asked her to do one more thing then what she was expected or asked to do. She was so proud ( I was quietly more proud) when I picked her up, and she told me what she done. Loving this parenting thing, with all of its learning lessons,

    • Profile photo of beas

      Ha ha, I too love parent moments. Our 15 year old was at his first job at KFC, three hour shift in the kitchen. He was exhausted when he finished, explaining how it wasn’t easy, he had to manage plain AND spicy crumbs and he got some orders stuffed up… If only the rest of the life was as simple as 50/50, hey? And … it took him almost an hour to clean the cooker, but his boss could do it in half an hour. I said he’d have to get faster… (he did) Have a great day.

  2. Profile photo of Richard M

    Hi Steve,

    This is an interesting point. I have actually been mulling over this recently and taken it a step further. In a process of self-reflection (which i believe is important for growth) I have actually noticed my own dedication and efforts in the workplace slip. For 4 years i went above and beyond, extra hours, challenge the norm and delivered quality (verified by organisation). However, no promotion, pay or other incentive came. I understand that my previous efforts have resulted in new skills and talents capable of more in other organisations but staying with this organisation has almost resulted in a push toward the minimum effort. I guess what i am saying is that effort is great for personal growth but recognition and value from the organisation helps to motivate.

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