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Most people live their lives with an ‘illusion of control’. They go to school, get good grades, and then enter the workforce. They “choose” a profession – whether that’s an engineer, scientist, or accountant, and then in-debt themselves to a big mortgage, two cars, a cottage, and other shiny things. And for the next 40 years, they work at a job that they don’t really like in order to pay for those things that they don’t really need. They’ve become “debt slaves” to the system, and looking back, realize that all of that schooling was a process to merely create productive corporate workers out of them. They’re lost, and ask themselves, “what’s the point in all of this – what have I done with my life?”, but only have this epiphany until it’s too late.
Well, I’m telling you now; unlearn what you’ve learned.
The great Mark Twain said: “I never let my schooling interfere with my education” and that “all schools, all colleges, have two great functions: to confer, and to conceal, valuable knowledge.”
Unlearn what you’ve learned.
I wasn’t a very good student in school. I got so-so grades. And most of my teachers told me that I was either inconsistent, didn’t pay attention to detail, or seemed uninterested in class. Well, they were right. I was uninterested. While I quickly skimmed through my science textbook, I poured over books on investing in the stock market throughout high school, latching onto role models like Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, and Benjamin Graham as I developed an insatiable drive to make it on my own by investing in stocks. I decided that I didn’t just want a “normal” life. I wanted financial freedom so that I could have real control and do something that I actually enjoy.
And so when I entered the University of Waterloo in 2005, I was more excited about the fact that at 18, I could open my first brokerage account and trade stocks. Fast forward to today; I built a $300,000 stock portfolio before 30, which I plan to grow to $1,000,000 before 40. And that’s not even “work” to me. It’s fun. How much fun? Well, on my way to building wealth, I wrote three books on finance & investing, with one becoming a national bestseller; Market Masters. I wanted to share the wealth; that is, knowledge on investing in stocks. I was only 28. Oh, and I was rejected by 50 publishers. Not to mention that I don’t even have a finance background to even “qualify” me for writing a book on finance. No bachelor’s degree in finance. No CSC. And no CFA. Honestly; I’d probably flunk all those exams. But I’m self-taught. I really know how invest in stocks and build wealth in the stock market. I’m great at it. And there’s the secret: I’m great at investing because I love the process. I’m always learning.
So, put down your text books from time to time and actually educate yourself on what YOU want to learn. You’ve got no excuse today with the proliferation of information on the internet; everything is available at your fingertips. What do YOU want to learn? What excites you? What comes easy to you? Build on that. If you want to be financially free, deliver value to people, feel pride in what you do, and take control of your life, you need to monetize something that you are passionate about. Make it your business.
Start with an idea, and then be mindful about how to make it happen. Here’s my blueprint: Mix intelligence, energy, and focus.
Be mindful of all three because you need intelligence, energy, and focus to actually achieve something. Trust me; there’s people who are intelligent but have no energy. And people who are full of energy but have no focus. You need all three. And when I say intelligence, I mean learning something of value, and being knowledge in something that actually inspires you. Remember what Mr. Twain said: don’t let school interfere with education.
So after reading this, think about what I’ve said today and unlearn what you’ve learned. I know; it’s tough. And you’ll be breaking from convention. But I don’t think you want to become like everyone else; living your life with an ‘illusion of control’: go to school, get good grades, and then enter the workforce, working at a job that you don’t really like in order to pay for those things that you don’t really need. Don’t become lost, asking yourself, “what’s the point in all of this – what did I do with my life?”, and only realizing that until it’s too late. Unlearn what you’ve learned. Educate yourself; learn about something that really interests you. Build something great with your knowledge. Make it your business. Lead a great life. A free life. And take control of you.