3 years ago I received my Master’s degree at the University of Schloss Seeburg, Austria. I took that piece of paper, shook a couple hands, and left the premises never to return.
Looking back, there are many things I wish I knew before I signed up. Some of those things I’ll share with you here.
Heads up! This article is not meant to persuade you to get an education or to drop out of school. You are your own master, the captain of your ship. I’m merely reflecting on the years I spent chasing a degree that ultimately has little more than sentimental value to me.
Know What You’re Signing Up For
You learn a lot during your time in school. Many things, however, aren’t even remotely touched upon. Things that can make the difference between victory and defeat.
Take your skill set for instance. What are you good at? What can you do better than anyone else?
You probably know you’re not a math wiz, but do you know what you truly excel at? The answer you’re looking for is no, as you’re never forced to take an honest look at yourself during your time in school. You’re never confronted with your true strengths and weaknesses.
The vast majority of time is spent on irrelevant nonsense. You learn how to write exams, how to speak about things you know nothing about and how to sleep with your eyes open. What you don’t learn is how to actually make money, how to survive out in the cold. University doesn’t prepare you for what is out there. You’re merely sold fortune cookie wisdom at a premium.
That’s not to say that college or university is all bad. It’s a prime opportunity to network with like-minded people and work on your social game. This, in my opinion, is the most valuable aspect of traditional education. It’s not in the curriculum, but in the human interaction.
Do I Regret Going to University?
Not at all.
If nothing else, I like being called ‘Master’. I do, however, regret not looking beyond the scope of traditional education. I regret not thinking about the possibilities and not seeing the world for what it is: A level playing field with equal opportunities for everyone.
I regret not having gone into business for myself in my early 20’s. I’m the slowest learner you’ll ever meet and it took me nearly 30 years to figure out what I wanted in life (everything).
I take full responsibility for wasting three decades. But I couldn’t expect more. I couldn’t expect more because I wasn’t looking for more. I wasn’t doing my part and pumping money into a system run by regular 9-5ers didn’t help either.
Make no mistake, these are good, honest, hard-working men and women (for the most part). I take nothing away from them. However, these good, honest, hard-working men and women are not the people I want to follow. I never wanted to work a desk job. I could never take orders. I knew I was a different animal but I was just too comfortable doing what everybody else did.
I was too comfortable being a lazy piece of shit.
Be Better Than The Rest
“No man has a right to expect to succeed in life unless he understands his business, and nobody can understand his business thoroughly unless he learns it by personal application and experience. – P.T. Barnum
Here’s the deal:
You don’t need an education to be successful.
You don’t need a degree to make money.
You need to be good at what you do.
If you want success, you have to get damn good at what you do, regardless of your chosen field. You must aspire to become the best in your domain. There’s no other way.
Good people are successful no matter the business they’re in. They’re successful because good people are always scarce. Good people are always sought after and good people are always needed. Good people will always find a job, or run a successful business. Why? Because they’re good and good people are few and far between.
An education, however, doesn’t make you good at something. A medical degree doesn’t make you a good doctor. A business degree doesn’t make you good at doing business.
Everything I use in my business today, I taught myself. And the same holds true for any driven individual I’ve met over the years. It is up to you and only you to work on your craft and perfect it. This will not happen overnight. This is a lifelong commitment.
The simpleton will congratulate you on your paper credentials. The realist will measure you on your performance outside the school walls. A realist will look at your achievements in the real world, not the diploma on your cubicle wall.
Live For The Struggle
You want to be successful? You want to be damn good at something? Do the work. Do what is necessary every single day. Without looking for short-cuts. Without succumbing to the comfort of mediocrity. If anything, look for the long road. Look for the hard way and go the extra mile.
Don’t rely on your credentials to carry you through life. School cannot give you the competitive edge you seek. You have to give yourself that edge.
Can you endure sleeping on the concrete floor and doing the same thing everyday in order to get to the promised land? Can you handle trading in leisure time with your friends for (more) work on your craft? Would you endure the daily grind if you knew it was worth it?
If your answer is no, then yes, you need to go to school. Getting an education is your only hope for making a decent living.
Thank you for reading