Sunday, May 29, 2011
Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. – Jim Rohn.
Right and I am a self-made millionaire – wrong! I like the sound of Mr. Rohn’s statement though because it gives validity to me wasting my high school years on party, pleasure and hot rods instead of buckling down and learning something of value. I am sure there are some self-made gazillionaires out there who don’t even have a high school education, but they are far and few between like lottery winners. As my mother-in-law says about me playing the lotto, “How’s that working out for you?” Sometimes she really pisses me off! Unfortunately, she is right as rain and it isn’t working out worth a poop.
When my mother reached thirty she said the hell with working as a construction secretary for our stepfather for the rest of her life. At the time she didn’t even have a high school education, but that was about to change. She went on after getting her GED to receive a Bachelor of Science degree and then a Master’s in music education and ended up teaching in the same junior high school she had graduated from years before.
I was so proud of her, but I was making a ton of money in construction and just knew I would be a successful contractor someday. What I didn’t know was that being successful also meant being responsible for my actions. I worked hard and drank hard. When I wasn’t working I was spending all my money on partying and not worrying about tomorrow, let alone next week. This was not the formula to the success I envisioned.
It wasn’t until I reached forty that I started realizing that had I put the money wasted on booze into an interest bearing account I could have retired to Hawaii. Instead, I just helped make bar owners wealthy and me poor. It was at this time I also said the hell with working my butt off swinging a hammer and started to learn the things that could and would make me a project manager and get me out of the field and into more money using my brain and not my back.
Over twenty years later I have managed some success. I became a project manager, consultant and published author, but not without great effort and many disappointments. One thing stands out more than any other. The whole process would have been so much easier had I learned study habits way back in high school. Our minds are so much more receptive to leaning when the brain cells are young and not permeated with beer and tobacco.
Success is not equated to money only. Success is being able to take responsibility for your own life and look in the mirror when you want to blame others for failure. Success means surrounding yourself with capable men and women who want to be there because of mutual respect and admiration. Success means giving credit to co-workers knowing that the praise will come back full circle. Success also means caring about others, especially your loved ones and family.
No, I’m not a millionaire, but I am rich beyond my wildest dreams. I have the perfect life and life’s partner. I am blessed each and every day with all my needs and desires fulfilled. Would I do it all over again knowing what I know now? No, I probably would just screw up at a different level. What I would do though is get that formal education that is available to every American. Sometimes the road less traveled can be the easiest one.