Self Education is the Key to Success for Everything
Awhile ago I read a quote from Jim Rohn that went like this: “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
I thought this was very profound. This seemed to be the exact opposite of everything I had been taught in school (go figure). All through school the mantra was, “Get good grades, go to college, graduate, and get a good paying job”.
What’s a Job Got To Do With It?
Now think about that for a minute and you’ll probably come up with a few questions. The most obvious one, “What the hell is a good job?” and the second one, “Can I get rich off a good job?”
To answer the first question you might come up with a list of things you want: decent salary, great co-workers, good benefits, retirement plan, etc.
But to answer the 2nd question: “Can I get rich?” The answer I came up with is; probably not.
But isn’t the purpose of going to school to make a lot of money and get rich? Ah huh! You’re with me now. The answer to this question is a big fat no, no matter who you ask, no one goes to school to get rich or to make a fortune. They go to school to get a better job, a job, or a high-paying job; but none of these result in being rich or having a fortune.
Jobs Don’t Matter
It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor or a janitor, this is not the key to prosperity. Play Cashflow 101 and you’ll see the janitor actually has a huge advantage over the doctor on becoming financially independent? Why? Simple, the doctor makes more and spends more, therefore, in order for him to become financially independent he has to acquire or create more passive income, which is the definition of financial independence.
You need to have enough money that you can either live off it for the rest of your life while paying bills or you need to invest it and live off your ROI (Return on Investment) for the rest of your life, which may also be called “interest”.
Schooling Doesn’t Make You Rich
So I thought about it a little bit more and then I realized that formal education has had absolutely no impact on whether or not a person becomes rich. A doctor doesn’t get rich because he’s a doctor or because he went to Harvard, if that were the case, there would be a lot of rich doctors who wouldn’t need to be doctors anymore because they have so much money. Besides, there are a lot of Harvard graduate students who aren’t millionaires.
School has absolutely nothing to do with becoming rich, in fact, most of the people who are rich that I’ve read about didn’t go to college, or dicked around in college and almost got kicked out. How about the famous Mark Zuckerberg who almost got expelled while experimenting with earlier forms of Facebook? What about Bill Gates or Michael Dell?
You see a formal education doesn’t enable someone to become rich, it is my firm belief that these people who become rich, even if they had finished college, would have became rich anyways.
What Do Rich People Have in Common
So how did they become rich?
Well, most of them had an idea and started their own business. So is the key to becoming rich starting your own business? Yes and no. There are plenty of people who do what is called investing and invested in some of these businesses and also became rich. How did that happen?
Did they go to a special business start-up school or a class at Harvard which explained to them which types of business they should invest in to become rich? Is there even such a class anywhere that you take to become rich? Is it an introductory course at Harvard? Rich Assholes 101? I’ve never seen such a thing, have you?
So formal education essentially teaches you how to become an employee for one of these rich people is what it boils down too. Your pathway to prosperity is not through formal education. Sure you can get a good high paying job but that’s irrelevant. All that matters is what you do with the money you make from these activities.
Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant
There’s a theory by a fellow named Robert Kiyosaki, the author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” where he explains the cashflow quadrant. Essentially it looks like this.
Robert holds the notion that in order for you to become financially independent, you must stand in at least one of the quadrants on the right side. As long as you are an employee or self-employed you can never be financially independent. I doubt that needs explanation, if you need it, then read his book because I have other things to cover.
On the right side of the quadrant you have Business Owner and Investor. I want to point out that Business Owner should not be confused with someone who owns a business and works there, that’s called Self-Employed. Unless you can walk away from your business and return to it richer than when you left, I’m sorry, but you’re self employed, not a business owner.
An investor is someone who takes that money stuff we talked about earlier and invests it, either into business or some other type of cash generating asset, whether it be a stock, mutual fund, or real Estate.
The key to becoming financially independent and/or rich, is to create a system of passive income that comes to you regardless of whether or not you’re sleeping or on a vacation somewhere. It makes money for you without your attention.
Have we then dispelled the illusion that “Formal Education” is how you become super rich and successful? Has this point been made? There are tons of college graduates, and I mean tons. The 2010 Census found that overall, population wide, 29% of Americans have a Bachelors Degree or higher. So obviously, that means at least 29% of the people in the United States are rich and financially independent right? Would you find it troubling to learn that of the wealthiest 1% in the United States only half of them have a graduate degree? How many of them do you think attribute their degree or formal education with their success? Are we clear yet? If we aren’t too bad, because I’m moving on!
It’s a Mindset, Not a Piece of Paper
Becoming rich cannot be had from a piece of paper. A piece of paper is only as good as the person behind it. If you get a degree all that says is you were willing and able to follow a system of people telling you what to do, how to do it, and when it was due. This is a good characteristic for an employee. Unfortunately, you need to be the one giving commands if you’re going to become rich.
What You Read Matters
Have you ever noticed that just about every house in the United States after a certain income level has a library or wide selection of books? Did you know that 90% of the population may never read or purchase another book after they leave high school?
Why do you think people who own big fancy houses have a library? For looks? Have you ever looked at the shelf and seen what was on it? I bet it’s not loaded with science fiction novels and nude magazines, although they might be part of the collection.
It’s most likely covered in a bunch of philosophical books from very influential people. Things covering business, finance, inspiration, and more. This is called “Self-Education”, and it is the key to everything in life from happiness to financial independence. Self-education is not just found in a book, it’s your philosophy on life. It’s the way you perceive the world and react to it. It’s how you process things.
Circumstances Don’t Matter
I’ve seen two people go through the exact same circumstances before, one comes out rich, the other comes out poor. What’s the difference? It’s how they responded to the circumstance. You see, everyone has circumstances, it happens to all of us. The difference is in how you respond to things as they come up. How flexible you are. Your ability to adapt and overcome. That’s the difference.
Bad Philosophies Can Change
Self-education is all of that. The good thing is, if you have a bad philosophy on life, it’s in your control to change. How do you know if you have a bad philosophy on life? Simple, do you have everything you wanted? Are you happy? Are you healthy? Are you wealthy? Whatever it is you want from life at this very moment, do you have it, or is there something more? If you don’t have what you want, then you probably have a poor personal philosophy and that’s all that’s holding you back.
Sure you might blame it on things like your job, circumstances, or school; but it’s really just you in the mirror at the end of the day. You answer to no one but yourself and I bet you don’t even believe the line of bullshit you tell yourself at the end of the day.
A good place to start in fixing your personal philosophy is to find someone who you idolize or has what you want and study their life. See what books they’ve read, see where they’ve been influenced, and start becoming influenced like they were.
Define What You Want From Life, Be Specific
Let me close this post out by telling you a story.
At a lecture I once attended, the speaker said to the audience, “Whoever here wants to have more money, raise their hand.” Everyone in the audience raised their hand. The speaker then picked someone from the audience and told them to come on stage. When the man got on stage, the speaker handed him a quarter. He then requested the entire audience to applaud the man because he had just achieved his goal.
You see, the man had more money than he had before he got on the stage. When you aren’t specific and set your goals, you don’t have anything specific to achieve. You can’t simply just want to be happy, you can’t simply just want more money, and you can’t simply just want anything. You have to sit down, write it out, define it on paper or in your mind, visualize it, and most importantly, believe it.
How much money do you want? What will it take for you to be happy? Make the list, check it twice, and stick with it. If you achieve your goal too easily, you may have set the bar too low. I’ll leave you with this final quote from Michelangelo (no I’m not talking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle either)
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”