So many people get scammed by the educational system. The things that we’re taught to do – to do the right thing, to be a good student, to excel in so many ways so that we can go on and make a great living, to have a great life, and to retire with some wealth and live out the last part of our lives with a vineyard and touring around Europe or whatever you’re doing – is all a bunch of baloney. Most people are living hand to mouth, struggling paycheck to paycheck, and a ton of those people have college degrees. While there is very low unemployment right now in the United States, most people say they feel under-employed. We see a greater and greater disparity between the rich and the poor. If you’re on that linear track to nowhere, get off of it. Look at the world differently and figure out what your superpower is. Don’t get caught up in the scam that somebody else is trying to feed you so that they can build their business.
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Education Is A Scam
We’re going to talk a little bit about education and why I stand against education in certain ways. I’m going to talk to you about why so many people get scammed by the educational system. Why most people struggle for financial freedom, for time freedom and for real happiness in the work that they’re doing, all because they think they’re doing the right thing. I probably already upset a few people by saying that most people are somewhat scammed by the educational system, by the high school and college systems. The things that we’re taught to do. To do the right thing, to be a good student, to excel in so many ways so that we can go on and make a great living. To have a great life, retire with some wealth and live out the last part of our lives with a vineyard and touring around Europe or whatever you’re doing. It’s a bunch of baloney. Most people are living hand to mouth, struggling paycheck to paycheck and a ton of those people have college degrees. Put it in perspective. While we do have very low unemployment in the United States, which is fantastic, most people say they feel under-employed. They’re not necessarily working to their potential. They are making a paycheck. They are getting by, but we see a greater and greater disparity between the rich and the poor.
The rich are a very small percentage. It’s not like half and half. It’s a few percentage points versus 96% or 97% of the rest of the population. For people who say, “I went out and I do have a job. I am working,” doesn’t necessarily speak to the fact that they’re employed at a level that they’re maybe competent to be employed. Rather they just got the job they can get. That’s a frustration for a lot of people. Then you flip that over to the other side, understand that 80% of the world’s billionaires do not have a college education. While I’m certainly not a billionaire, I don’t have a college education. I went one year to a little private junior college called Ricks College up in Rexburg, Idaho. I had a great time. I was in their choir. I got to tour all over the place. I dated lots of lovely girls and I don’t even know for sure that I got grades that year. It wouldn’t matter much because my grades weren’t good before. My high school cumulative GPA was 1.9. I got a little bit lower than a C average in high school and yet I came out and even at a young age was making very good money in my late teens.
By the time I was in my twenties, I’d gotten married. We’d bought our first home, we bought our second home. By the time I was 29, I was in a very lucrative career as an officer of a publicly traded multinational. I didn’t have to have a college degree to get that. You might say, “Aaron, you’re different. You had some special exception.” Maybe I am confident in a way that some people may not be. Maybe I’m willing to open my mouth and have an opinion or try some new idea and maybe not everybody feels comfortable with that. I’m going to tell you, there are tons of people who have all kinds of technical knowledge and knowledge about things like psychology or science or math or information technology or marketing or sales. They have a great education but haven’t been able to capitalize on it.
It’s because of this. Most people as they’re growing up, their parents who love them and want the best for them, “I’ve heard that you make more money and it’s true. You make more money if you have a college degree.” They say, “Get good grades, join that club, you ought to be a player, get a letter in sports, sing in the choir or be in the future farmers of America.” I don’t care. Do other stuff. Do extracurriculars. You get good grades and then you take your college board, the SAT or the ACT and hopefully, you get a decent score so you can get accepted into a university. It’s expensive, but we know that you’re going to have such a great life and this university talks about how excellent their placement record is. They’re going to get you into a good job when you get out. You go through and maybe you paid for yourself or your folks saved the money, or maybe you took out loans and you ended up with $20,000, $50,000, $100,000, $150,000, $250,000 in the hole in the government loan programs. Now, you’re out and you’re looking for the job and you’re working and you finally get a good job. You’re making $80,000, $90,000, $100,000 a year and you’re working hard to pay off those stinking loans and you’re trying to get on with your life. Maybe you want to get married or have children or buy a home or travel or whatever. What you find out is that it was baloney.
Most people I meet are not very happy with what they’re doing. I had a conversation with a young woman. She graduated from a good school. She got a degree in marketing with a minor in psychology and she was doing an entry-level job working at Disney. I said, “That’s cool though. You’ve got your degree. You’re doing the college program. You’re getting some fun life experience and then you’re going to go out and hit the world. What do you want to do? What do you want to be? What do you want to work in?” She said, “I have no idea. They told us there was all this help for us after we graduated, but it hasn’t exactly been true. I’m working here and I’m loving what I’m doing, but this would never pay my bills in a significant way. It would be difficult to be a real career or at least a very slow path. I’m not positive that even if I made Disney a career that I could use my marketing degree or my psychology degree.” She said, “What’s your advice?”
Here was my advice that I want to share with you to help you become unshackled, to help you live a bigger life. Not everybody can do this but if you’re reading this episode, odds are you’re the kind of person who can do it and who’s looking to do it. You’re searching for ways and seeking formulas to do something more. You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t already an entrepreneur or had aspirations to be an entrepreneur. Here’s what I told her, “First of all, I learned a law.” When I was young, I was told all those same stories by my parents, by my teachers, by my church leaders and by my friend’s parents. Get good grades, do the extracurriculars, so on and so forth. What I learned and discovered is a reality for most of us, unless you want to go be a doctor or dentist or a lawyer, engineer, something like that.
For most of us who don’t know what we want to do with the rest of our lives, here’s what I learned. At least for me, I didn’t need to get A’s. I just needed to finish. You might go, “That doesn’t sound very good. That sounds like a low bar.” I would say you’re wrong if you think that’s a low bar. Why do you think every time Apple or Microsoft puts out a new software or a new product, a new computer, the iPad, why are they constantly having to upgrade it and do bug fixes and so on? Because they didn’t have to have a perfect product. They just had to get a product that would work and get it out. They can keep iterating on it while it’s already in your hands. Harvard Business Journal wrote a great article and it talked about the minimum viable product. What’s the minimum viable product you have to build so that you can get it out into the public? It doesn’t need to be perfect. It doesn’t need to be complete, it just needs to be the minimum viable, workable, functional product or service.
They said this is the trick to getting success in the marketplace. Get something out there, provide a service, build your mousetrap. Create your thing, write your play, do whatever you’re going to do and then get it out there. You can get better as you go, but if you wait until things are perfect, you’re going to wait forever because they will never ever be perfect. I hope I am not overpowering you with this, but it will never be perfect. You will always be tweaking and improving and iterating on whatever you do. I said to this young lady, first of all, “What do you love? What are you good at doing? Don’t worry about a job title. Tell me what you’re good at.” She said, “I’m a good writer.” I said, “What kind? Fiction or nonfiction?” She goes, “I’m just good with crafting sentences, with explaining an idea. I’m a good writer.” I said, “What else are the things that everybody comes to you for?” She said, “A lot of people come to me to talk about relationships and so on. I seem to be the one that a lot of people want to talk about interpersonal things.” I said, “You’re a writer, you’re good with people. You’re empathetic. That’s great. What else?” She goes, “I’m pretty creative. I can see an interesting angle to things.”
I said, “If you’re a creative thinker and you’ve got good interpersonal skills and you can write well, think about it. You could be a writer, you could be a speaker, you could be a ghostwriter, you could do ad copy or you could write blogs. There are a million things. You could do social media. There are tons of stuff you can do that people will pay you for, where you don’t have to go out and get a job. They’ll pay you because you do something better than they do.” There’s a ton of people that I surround myself with that are way better than me at things like understanding the computer, doing the accounting. Understanding all the intricacies of social media or outbound media or inbound media. The marketing that we do, that’s inbound marketing and reading and figuring out which one of our landing pages keeps people’s attention the longest. They heat map it and they do all these things and they show me all this amazing stuff and I’m like, “I didn’t know you could do that,” but they knew. What do I need to do? I need to know how to run a business. I need to know how to set a goal and keep us moving towards the goal. I need to know how to keep the band together and keep them focused on a specific outcome. I don’t need to know how to do every one of the skills that they own, that they’ve already mastered.
Jim Rohn, years ago made a great comment. He said, “Formal education will make you a living and self-education will make you a fortune.” Why is it that 80% of the world’s billionaires do not have a college degree? It’s because they didn’t think linearly. They had an idea, they had a vision and they started after it. They went after it. I’m so grateful that I got some cool opportunities and ideas when I was eighteen, nineteen years old, that began this upward spiral of building and buying and selling businesses. I’m now helping lots of business owners try to avoid a lot of the mistakes I made when I was much younger. I’ve been doing this for 36 years, buying and selling and running businesses. I know what I’m good at. It’s critical that you find out what are you great at, what is your superpower? It’s equally important to know, “What do I suck at? Where am I weak? What do I not understand?” It’s not that you couldn’t learn it, but why? You work on your gifts. Surround yourself with people who play at the things you work at and don’t think in a linear way. I need to get these classes to get this certificate so that I can get this job.
Very few of us needed to function on that path. There are a million paths to the top of the mountain. There are a million paths to financial success. There are tons and tons of ways to take control of your life and your time and the things that you want to do. That doesn’t mean you go out and do your passion all the time, but you do things that other people want that you can be passionate about. That you can see that you’re making a difference in the world. When you do that, you’ll make money. When you get organized and use a formula that says, “Here’s how we’re going to function in this business so things became duplicatable.” When you stay in your zone and you surround yourself with great people and you follow a formula, you have such a high likelihood of tremendous success.
What’s your superpower? Are you stuck on some road? There’s an old proverb that I learned from Brian Tracy, “No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, turn back.” People say, “But we’re making such good time.” You say, “No, get off the wrong road.” If you’re on that linear track to nowhere, get off of it. Look at the world differently. Look at it with a little different slant. Figure out what your superpower is, how you can make a difference to others, why they would want to beat a track to your door. Don’t get caught up in the scam that somebody else is trying to feed you so that they can build their business. You figure out what you’re great at and you go after that and you’re going to have an amazing life. I look forward to you subscribing and commenting. We’re on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, and Amazon. We’re everywhere. Tell your friends, subscribe and comment. I appreciate you being here and I look forward to talking to you next time.