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3 Reasons Why People Fail After College

March 04, 2016 3 min read

Your education defines you.
Both the normal schooling and what you're doing today to become self-taught.

What would the world look like if each day every human, young and old, spent 33% of their day (that's around 5 hours) learning new things about health, wealth, love, and happiness?

I predict it would end war, poverty, and sickness.

Like Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another."

Your life is like the myth of Achilles and the arrow in his heel.  You can do almost everything right, but that one thing you don't know (that chink in your armor) will come back to bite you.
That's the mis-weighting cognitive bias. 
Don't do it. Be afraid of what will happen to you because you don't have enough knowledge in your head. It's a bad outcome that tempts fate and Mother Nature. Mother Nature should be the teacher of last resort.

She is a beast.

For today's Book-Of-The-Day I re-read, Zero To One: Notes On Startups, Or How To Build The Future. The famous investor/billionaire Peter Thiel talks about 3 major flaws in the education you received:

1. Too homogenous: "We teach every young person the same subjects in mostly the same ways, irrespective of individual talents and preferences. Students who don’t learn best by sitting still at a desk are made to feel somehow inferior, while children who excel on conventional measures like tests and assignments end up defining their identities in terms of this weirdly contrived academic parallel reality."

2. Competing for the wrong things: "It gets worse as students ascend to higher levels of the tournament. Elite students climb confidently until they reach a level of competition sufficiently intense to beat their dreams out of them."

3. Dreams get beaten out of you: "Higher education is the place where people who had big plans in high school get stuck in fierce rivalries with equally smart peers over conventional careers like management consulting and investment banking. For the privilege of being turned into conformists, students (or their families) pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in skyrocketing tuition that continues to outpace inflation."

Peter Thiel then asks, "Why are we doing this to ourselves?"

There is no reason that your education should have been all bunched up in your youth. I'd rather live in a world where you took one class every day from age 5 to 95. It's a fool's game to pack school in
from age 5 to 25 and then basically have adults stop learning.

So go out and take a college night class (believe it or not, I just show up at UCLA or USC and ask the professors if I can sit in and they almost always say yes).

Or watch a Yale course on YouTube. You used to have to be born elite to go to Yale. Now all you need is an iPhone.
We live in the best of times.
Go to some conference you have been putting off.

The billionaire Li Ka-Shing gave a poor kid this advice who was only making $2,000/month of income -

Divide it equally into 5 parts and with the 3rd part:

"Third set of funds: To learn. Monthly spend about $50 to $100 to buy books. Because you don’t have a lot of money, you should pay attention to learning. When you buy the books, read them carefully and learn the lessons and strategies that are being taught in the book. Each book, after reading them, put them into your own language to tell the stories. Sharing with others can improve your credibility and enhance the affinity.

Also save up $200 per month to attend a training course. When you have higher income or additional savings, try to participate in more advanced training. When you participate in good training, not only do you learn good knowledge, you also get to meet like-minded friends who are not easy to come by."

Everyone is told to invest in an IRA or 401k plan or in real estate, but do the math. Those investments pale in comparison to the ones Li Ka-Shing recommends.

Buy another book. Read it.

Get close to spending 33% of your time doubling down on your own brain. Invest in yourself.

Stay Strong

P.S. As the billionaire Warren Buffett says, "The most important investment you can make is in yourself."

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