Formal education will make a living, self-education will make you a fortune.
We go to school and learn a lot of things and practice a lot of textbook theory. Most would agree that when you get into the real world, it is much different than a textbook.
I have always believed that your real education begins after your formal schooling, and this self-education, as Jim Rohn says above, "will make you a fortune."
I was recently asked to speak to a young millennial graduate about how to succeed and go after what they want in life. The following is what I told them.
The first thing I told them is that in the real world you are not entitled to anything. The world doesn't owe you anything. It doesn't owe you a job or success. No matter what you have done or what you have accomplished to this point, in all honesty the real world doesn't care. As far as it is concerned, you are starting with a blank canvas. The beauty of this is you get to write a whole new story. But, it is going to take a lot of hustle and having having the vision to size and act on opportunities. You notice, I did not say hard work. Not that it isn't needed and there will be times you will have to work extremely hard...harder than you ever have before. But I know a lot of people that work extremely hard and don't get ahead or grow beyond their current status. It's not the work itself, it's doing the right type of work that makes the difference. Many don't ever see the distinction.
What is more important to understand about how you will truly succeed is to develop a sense of resourcefulness and willingness to act on opportunity and make it happen. This is the secret. Never say it cannot be done, ask "how can it be done," even if you don't have the resources, talent, or even a clue how to do it. It you want something bad enough, you'll find the way. Necessity is the mother of invention and I might add, hustle. One other thing I will add to this first point is that when you are going for what you want, you are going to put in a lot of time, physical effort, mental effort, resources, and sacrifice. And after doing all of this, you still may not get what you want. That is life. But, you will have grown to whole new levels and learned a tremendous amount of real life skill and knowledge that you need when you decide to get back up and go again. That is priceless. Lastly, get up and go at it again...and again...and again until you reach what you are after. It will probably not be exactly what you envisioned, but it will be in the ballpark and who knows, it may be even better than what you thought.
The second thing I told them is that if you are going to do go after what you truly want, then you need to take a big step back and get clarity on what that is. Most people don't get what they want because they don't know what they want. In our 24/7 world with an alert every second on our phone and 15 shiny objects in front of our face every minute from Instagram posts to text and everything in-between, most people never stop. They never stop, clear their head, and ask themselves what it is they are really after.
Gaining clarity of purpose is one of the most critical things that you will do for your life and your success. Being crystal clear on what you want will act like a beacon...a guide to keep you on track and make you hungry to get it. In the absence of it, people wander aimlessly from one thing to the next. We wonder why the new norm is to have 12-15 jobs in your life. (that is a real stat from the Bureau of Labor statistics)
Life moves so fast now that it is very hard to slow down and actually do the self-reflection needed to find out what you really believe, want, and get clear on it. It's hard. It's not just taking 10 mins to say "I want this." It is questioning it with boldness and asking 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level questions as to why you want it, why it matters, and how far you are willing to go to get it. If you can't 100% all in for what you want, then you won't get it. My advice is to take a few days, turn off the phone, social media, block out everything else and put pen to paper. Hash it out. It will be one of the greatest things you've ever done.
The last thing I told them is to start learning. You must begin to educate yourself outside of academia. Read everything you can. Read things you don't think you will agree with. Get a different perspective. See all sides, then make up your mind. Once you know what you want, find others that have done the same things. Read their books, watch their videos. Study it like you are studying a craft. Keep a journal of the best ideas and refer back to it regularly.
And my last point on this was that if you do this, 5 years from now, you will have created a whole different world for yourself and have had some great success. You will have probably ready several hundred books and writings, but, and this is most important, don't rest on your laurels at this point. Don't get complacent and think you've learned everything you need. This was one of the biggest lessons I learned personally. Keep pushing yourself. There really is no such thing as enough. You can always learn, grow and experience more. Never stop.
Throughout history there have been many great sages that have spoken the truest wisdom, but no one had the down to earth, plain talk, of Will Rogers. Will, who died in a plane crash in Alaska with bush pilot, Wiley Post, was one of the greatest political/country/cowboy sages ever known and his wisdom is more relevant today than ever.
Here are some of his best sayings that can make a difference in your life and the way you think...
Simple, proven wisdom that you just don't hear anymore. Use it to help you succeed and avoid cow chips!
Here's a graphic if you want to share it or save it and put it up somewhere...
Every highly successful person has unique habits and traits that set them apart and make them successful. Most people think that these things are some big secret or rare talent that these people have. In reality, many of the things they do are simple or incremental, but they add up over time. If you can do 10 things just a little bit better than everyone else, it makes a BIG difference.
Here are 10 incredibly simple lifehacks of highly successful people.
Last weekend we lost a good friend and companion. Sky, our family cat passed away. People's pets and companions pass, that is part of life and you no doubt have experienced this in your life. But, there is a story here that I want to tell that relates to life and business - and if you stick with me for this article, I think it will make a difference for you.
Sky was important in a lot of ways. Shortly after meeting the amazing woman who would one day become my wife, he showed up one evening on my back porch as we were both hanging out. He was a stray. She immediately, without hesitation, opened her heart and began to take take care of him, give him food, look him over and reached out to a vet to have him looked at, etc. It was in watching her selflessness and her caring ways that I truly fell in love with her and knew she was the one.
Fast forward many years, we are married and arrive home from China with our daughter. By this time, we have managed to acquire a couple more cats or "jokers" as I like to call them (yes, I know they say once you hit 3, you are borderline crazy), but Sky was always the one that was warm, inviting, greeting you at the door, friendly with everyone. We used to joke that we could be getting robbed and he would be purring and rubbing up against the legs of the thieves as they stole our stuff. Sky was always there and happy. This made a huge difference in bringing our daughter home and starting her new life. While the other cats ran and hid from her, Sky immediately took to her. They became fast friends and I believe it really helped her come out of her shell and acclimate faster.
Last summer, Sky, now 13, started to have trouble. He started to lose a lot of weight, became sickly, and even started to become less friendly all in just a few weeks. We noticed immediately and took him into the vet. We did not expect to hear what we did. Just months earlier, he had been the same thriving, energetic self he had always been. The vet told us that his kidneys had basically failed out, he now had diabetes and possibly cancer, and that he most likely had a month to live. He even discussed euthanasia with us.
As you can probably guess, this wasn't an option for my wife. She asked "How?" How can we help him live longer? How can we help him get healthier? The vet gave us some thoughts which included a daily insulin regiment, daily fluid injections (think dialysis), and a few others things. My wife immediately went to a vet supply center and got what she needed. She spent evenings online researching cats and reading up on similar situations and what could be done. She went about it methodically, like a business leader. Find the problem, research the solution, put an action plan in place, execute.
Of course, I am observing all of this, helping where I can. But, this was her baby. and she was not going to be deterred. My daughter became her sidekick and every evening it became bath and fluids time. Bath for the munchkin while her buddy got the fluids that kept him alive. It worked. He became healthier, more vibrant, and even the vet was "amazed" at how well he was and what had happened with him in the most recent checkup.
This went on until this past weekend when Sky finally succumbed. I'll never forget it because I was the only one home. My wife and daughter were out having a mommy/daughter day and I had settled in to get some much needed work done on a new project. Just as I was about the throw my headphones on, I heard a noise from right outside my office and I knew it wasn't right. I walked over to Sky's bed and there he was. He had just suffered a major seizure and he was immobile. Except his eyes. I peered right into them and he peered into mine. He knew and I knew what was happening. And in that moment, I could see that he was ready. I'll never forget it, because after that look, I could see the life start to fade from his eyes. I got my wife on the phone and she was able to get home in time to see him and take him to the vet. It was all over in about an hour. He didn't suffer much and he wasn't in pain (according to the vet). He had lived a good life and had been a source of joy for us, a bridge for our daughter to connect to her new life, and a great companion.
What compelled me to tell this story, as I reflected on it after the weekend, were the lessons I learned from it.
First, love is extremely powerful The love for another can accomplish miracles and give purpose to your life. Sky should have never been alive this long. If it wasn't for my wife's love and determination to help him live, he would have been gone last year. Love coupled with true belief in a purpose can change lives. It has even changed the world. Don't shy away from what you love. Embrace it with everything in your heart and everything you've got.
Second, life is precious. Yes, it is cliche, but life is precious. We only have so much time and every minute is important. Watching life literally die out of Sky's eyes put this into perspective for me like never before. We only have one life to live and we need to make the absolute most out of it. Go after your goals and dreams. Find your true passion. Give it everything you've got. Leave no regrets and savor every experience, so that one day when it is your time, you'll know you left nothing on the table. Sky was ready. He knew he lived well, was loved, gave love back, and had no regrets. I saw it in his eyes.
Lastly, determination and "will" make a huge difference. You know the feeling. The feeling that bubbles up inside of you when you will not let anything get in your way. When you literally are "willing" something to happen and know that it will - because you won't stop until it does. We see it in great moments in sports, business, and in life. Over the last year, I got to witness it every day as we all "willed" our buddy to live and did everything possible to make it a reality. What will you harness your will for? What will you be so committed to that you will not stop, because you cannot stop until it becomes your reality?
Whatever it is, I urge you to go for it. Use your love and passion to guide you and live life how you know you should live it - don't leave anything on the table.