Go to school, get a degree, get a job, and live happily ever after. That sounds like a good plan doesn’t it? Well, let me submit to you that this kind of plan can ruin your life, or your children’s lives, if you are not careful.
This linear way of thinking has led to thousands of young people, in some cases with their parents, getting into student debt in the hope of being successful in world of work. But are all those student loans paying off? In South Africa alone, we have thousands upon thousands of unemployed graduates who acquired student loans in the hope of repaying them when they get employed. We are faced with a situation where many graduates are competing for a few jobs.
Our society promoted formal education. They told us that the only way to earn a good living was to get a good education. What they forgot to tell us was that formal education will make you a living, yes, but self-education will make you a fortune. Self-education puts the student on the driver’s seat of their financial future. Formal education teaches you to rely on someone else for employment, while self-education advocates for you to create your own employment.
If you want to become a doctor, accountant, lawyer, or engineer – go to school. But if you want to be successful – financially, or as a leader, then here are a few things you can do:
1.Don’t set out to work for money, set out to work on yourself.
Many people set out to work primarily for money, but this approach is wrong and can frustrate you. What we ought to do is work primarily on ourselves, developing ourselves. “Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job you make a living, which is good. But if you work hard on yourself, you make a fortune, which is incredible”. – Jim Rohn.
2.Develop your public speaking skills
When was the last time you spoke in public? Many people fear speaking in public, so if you develop this skill, then you will put yourself way ahead of 90% of the people who live on earth. To develop this skill, all you must do is get a good book, read aloud for 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week, and your public speaking will improve in no time. Reading aloud will also help you work on your vocabulary, which will boost your confidence level.
3.Communicate effectively; whether in writing, or in speech
Learning to speak with candour will help you gain the respect of people around you. Speak in such a way that your word can never be misquoted. Communicating effectively, and honestly with people is different from being rude – draw the line. Don’t be rude but be honest. Listen to speeches of great communicators like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Barack Obama.
4.Hold yourself to a high standard
Our standards determine our success. Holding yourself to a standard of excellence ensures that anything that you do will not be lower than extraordinary. Remember in high school when you told yourself that you would never go out with certain individuals? That was you setting standards. Now imagine if you use the same will power to set a standard that says: “Whatever I do, I must excel at it, I must give it my all until it succeeds?
5.Find yourself a mentor
It’s easy to find a mentor. Identify someone you would like to learn from, and then work for them for a lower pay. You will be amazed at the amount of learning you will do by just working for someone who is an excellent leader. Sometimes we learn better by association than we do from a lecture hall. If you cannot afford to do what I’m suggesting above, then research several leaders that you look up to, and write to as many of them as you possibly can, requesting to be mentored. Be willing to pay for lunch if they offer to meet over lunch.
6.Read, Read, Read
I cannot stress this point enough. It is said that top CEOs read 1 book weekly, while the average individual reads 1 book a year. This should not be you. You need to find topics that will help you develop as a leader and envelop yourself in their study. Finance should be at the top of the list if you want to be financially successful (You should want this for yourself). George Clason’s “The Richest Man in Babylon”, along with Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, and Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”, are at the forefront of personal finance books of all time. Of course, there are many others, but these are a great start as you build your library of personal development and self-study.
As I draw to a close, I’m not saying that it’s entirely wrong to go school, What I’m saying is that unless you want to study a specialized field like accounting, law, medicine, or engineering, then you must think carefully about acquiring student debt in the hope of getting a job. This type of thinking can ruin your life because almost everyone you know has been taught to think in this way. This means that the chances of success for many people are getting slimmer and slimmer.
To succeed, you have to think and do things differently. “Don’t be a follower, be a student”. – Jim Rohn.
CEO, Quality Growth International