Tuesday, 9 October 2012
The Education of Millionaires and The Mis-Education of Everyone Else
Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right."
I lived this to a tee - settling for any desk job that paid me just enough.
When I heard the counter argument:
you don't have to have a great (traditional) education to make something of your life
my mindset shifted..
It's Not Over, Until It's Over
We all like to hear it's not too late. That we can circumvent the class system and make a fortune with our bare knuckle skills.
It's the reason we fall for the Get Rich Quick, With No Work schemes that come at us in various guises. We want to hear that if your forty, with a crap job and no girlfriend, there's a secret that will unlock the door to abundance and women's hearts!
Also, we're curious about the rich and wealth. We envy them and despise them at the same time. We think there's some luck to their fortune, and if only we can get the magic answer everything will be okay.
Ellsberg's book makes us feel good by presenting us with the idea that streets smarts and self-education leads to real riches. But I wonder, are we being tricked into thinking education in its current form is redundant? Are we saying stop aiming for Harvard; instead start hustling form day one?
Russell Simmons, Hypocrite?
Russell Simmons is one of the people profiled in the book . A classic rags-to-riches tail. But like many wealthy people, Russell doesn't want his children going through the hardships he went through - so he spends a small fortune on getting them a classic education. How many of the millionaires profiled are doing the same thing: talking street smarts, but playing it safe by sending their loved ones to posh prep schools.
Does self-education work?
Self-education requires a lot of discipline. Left to your own devices you can neglect your own education. The school system although flawed can offer a firm structure to guide you in your learning.
The streets can be tough, and not everyone is made for that type of reality.
My take and my choice
I love the idea that if you work hard enough, no matter what your start in life, you can make something of yourself. There's always a second shot; another opportunity to make it (think 65 year-old Colonel Sanders starting KFC). It's why so many immigrants move to America to chase the dream.
When I make my fortune, I'm not going to sell my kids some cheesy dream. I live in the real world, so I'm going to give them every advantage they can take. The best education, the best networks, the best home life, and of course lessons from the University of Life.
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