maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: Lessons From Life's Most Powerful Question - I don' t have a degree, I have a…….

I was watching an interview with the entrepreneur Cesar Millan who is perhaps best known as "the dog whisperer". Millan has an incredible story of the power of the entrepeneurial spirit. In the interview his answer to a question about his formal education really resonated with me. He said, "I don't have a degree, I have a desire." 

I am a high school dropout. I quit high school part way through Grade 11. A few years later I realized I needed to make some significant changes in my life if I wanted to pursue my dream of being a police officer. So, I quit smoking, started working out, lost 60 pounds, completed two years of high school in six months through an adult education program, started volunteering for the YMCA and took on more responsibility at work. I was living in Edmonton at the time and was trying to get on with the Edmonton Police Service. Following my second unsuccessful attempt I was informed by the Staff Sergeant in Recruiting that because I had never been to college or university that I was not 'smart enough' to make it through training. What struck me as strange was that he did not care what I took at college or university, or if I ever graduated. If I went, even for a couple of years, it would make me smart enough to get through training. Like Millan I did not have a degree, but I had a desire so I applied to other police departments. I was able to get hired by the Calgary Police and through hard work finished at the top of my class academically. 

My oldest son Jesse owns a very successful boutique wine store in Calgary. Jesse does not have a degree, but he has a desire. My son Cody is on pace to open his own restaurant in Calgary shortly after his 28th birthday. Based on everything he has done so far that restaurant will be successful the day they open the doors. Cody does not have a degree, but he has a desire. 

Don't get me wrong. I am a huge fan of education and learning. I have been committed to self education, learning and personal growth for a long time. Jesse and Cody are continually learning and studying about business, wine, food and marketing. They are talking to people who have been successful in business and learning from them. They are reading, experiencing, doing, failing, learning and doing more. 

What bothers me is when I hear people tell their children, "Without a university degree you will never be successful." or, "If you want to make something of yourself you have to go to college or university."  The research is very clear however that there is no correlation between formal education and success in life. The world is full of well educated unsuccessful people. There are a lot of people who have amassed huge debt from student loans going to college or university taking programs because that is what they need to do to 'be successful'. Going to college or university does not guarantee you will be happy or successful in life. 

I am a fan of getting 'an education', but there are many ways in life to accomplish that. Formal education is simply one path. Have a plan. Focus on what you are learning, rather than simply what courses should I take, and always imagine how the learning applies to life and to helping you accomplish your goals. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

Committed to the pursuit of excellence through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

Contact me at winningmind@mac.com to book me to speak to your team, your organization or at your conference. 




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