A lot of the ideas that I will be revealing did not originate with me. I would love to take credit for them, but I have had many influences. It would have been a great tragedy to say that when I graduated school, that my education ended and I never read another book (there are people out there like that, you know).
I have always been a little ashamed of the fact that I never completed my college degree after I got out of the Navy, but for whatever reasons (or excuses), I didn’t. There were some people in my past that thought that a college degree is first, foremost and defines all of the success in life that anyone will have. That notion is great…if you’re about 22 years old and have just finished final exams.
Notice that I haven’t said “an education.” People go to college, study hard (or not), graduate and the common misnomer is that they are thoroughly educated. They have reading, writing and ‘rithmetic skills out the wazoo, so therefore, they are thoroughly educated. There is nothing wrong with this and it has worked for a great many people…for a while. College doesn’t and can’t give you an education. College gives you a degree (if you earn it).
1 a : to provide schooling for b : to train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession
2 a : to develop mentally, morally, or aesthetically especially by instruction b : to provide with information : inform
The first definition is first because it is the most popularly used definition and the most popular context of the word. It is the classic definition of “go to school and get an education.” The second definition is what you do with your mind AFTER you get out of school. It’s the second definition that is the key to this thought.
My education began when I decided to read a book my teachers in school didn’t require me to read. The first book I remember reading under these circumstances was “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville. I read it in about two days when I was in the third grade. I had always had a love for the sea and stories about sailing ships. I continued reading about these sorts of things until I was in high school. In high school, I studied at Indian Springs School, just outside Birmingham, AL, for one year. I learned one pivotal skill there…how to teach myself. After one semester at Florida State University (where I learned virtually nothing new), I found myself in the Navy. I was “educated” in nuclear power plant operation. This worked great for me when I was near a nuclear power plant. When I left the Navy and decided that I would not pursue a career as a nuclear operator, this “education” was suddenly obsolete.
I started a business with my life’s savings and failed. I knew nothing about business, except business owners were the highest paid people in the company and I wanted to be the highest paid person in the company.
I found myself in retail sales as an assistant manager in a jewelry store and then as a manager of my own jewelry store with the same company. I didn’t know much of anything about my trade and I was consistently one of the top salespeople in the company. Again, since I had some “business success” under my belt managing someone else’s business, I thought I was thoroughly educated. I started my second business and failed…again. I thought I knew enough to start my own business, but I didn’t…apparently.
My education really began (as it applies to the world of business) when I started putting together my library. It was in the early 1990’s and I joined a business book club, where they send you a book you don’t want, you send it back and buy a book that you do want. After a while they quit sending me books and I bought a business book of my choosing every month. I had amassed a great deal of knowledge in business and sales. I lost that library after I moved to south Florida and got in the habit of losing everything I had about every nine months.
My library now is becoming a source in inspiration for me and my future successes. It contains authors like Donald Trump, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, John Maxwell, Robert Kiyosaki, Denis Waitley, Dr. Joe Vitale, Jeff Olsen and more. It has some of the greatest knowledge that business has ever put together and I am still a great student of my own library. I try to learn something new everyday and usually do. I cannot give myself a better present than a great education.
If you want better things out of your life, put something new into your mind. Turn off TV. Read a book. Invest in yourself and your future. Read a book that can change your life and improve who you are.
After all, success is not something you pursue, it’s something you become.