Saturday, March 21, 2015

Axiom 60: Knowledge is Power

"Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal. Prepare yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your experience, so that you can make the most of opportunity when it occurs." -Mario Andretti

"As knowledge increases wonder deepens." -Charles Morgan

One thing that is very sad to me is when I see a person that is full of potential and they remain a failure in life because of their lack of curiosity  and ambition in the pursuit of knowledge. 

I imagine that if I asked these people if they would like to make more money at their current job that they would quickly answer "yes" without hesitation.

"Great," I would respond. "In order to make more money you will need to be of more value to your employer. Therefore you will need to increase your knowledge of the job and learn new skills. This may require you to study while you are away from work to develop these new skills."

At this point most of them would probably respond with some sort of excuse for why they can't do it. "I don't have the time", "There's no room for advancement at my job", "I'm not doing that in my free time if I'm not getting paid", or "That doesn't sound fun. I'm not going to waste my free time doing something miserable like that." all come to mind.

For those people out there all I can say is - They just don't get it. Chances are that I can't even explain things in a way that they will ever get it.

If you came to this website and are reading these words you are one of the few people that do get it. This Axiom is for you.

Knowledge is power. The more useful skills you learn in life the more likely you are to become successful, make more money, be happy, and move up in the world. Simple as that.

The people that "don't get it" see the simple equation of school = learning. The truth is that many people go through the education system and learn almost nothing of value. The people that get it have valuable knowledge that they have acquired from numerous sources often outside of school.

Don't fall into the mindset that free knowledge is of less value than the knowledge gained from a formal education. Outside of a few professional degrees (doctor, lawyer, etc.) it is possible to learn a trade and become employed without any formal schooling - although this process could be much harder without formal schooling. For example, you could study graphic design at home and work as a freelance artist. Ultimately, the quality of your work and success will depend on your knowledge and experience - not the school you went to.

I am constantly trying to learn new things, whether it be taking free classes on Coursera, reading new books every week, watching documentaries, travelling, language learning, and so on. It is because of my constant pursuit of knowledge that I have yet to hit a plateau in my success, and doubt I ever will.    

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Axiom 59: Advice for My 18 Year Old Self

"A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth." -Maurice Chevalier

"Good plans shape good decisions. That's why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true." -Unknown

I graduated high school so long ago in 1998. While it seems like just yesterday the reality is the years have quickly flown by. I often wonder what I would tell myself and my graduating high school class if I could go back and speak at my graduation. 

While all of my previous axioms to date could possibly be molded into good advice for young people there are a few things I haven't covered yet that are of particular value to young adults just starting out in the world:
  1. Write Down Your Goals. Write down your goals and read them everyday. This will help you from wondering aimlessly through life without a purpose.
  2. Time Flies. Don't put off your goals, not even for a day. Even if you just spend a few minutes each day working towards a goal you're moving in the right direction. Don't wake up at age 40 with regrets of wasted time.
  3. Don't Burn Bridges. No matter how bad things are take the high road. Burning bridges will always come back to haunt you.
  4. Know Your Strengths. Before you drift to far in life without a purpose consider taking a personality test (DISC) or a career aptitude test (AIMS).
  5. Keep an Open Mind. Be open to learning new skills. Be open to hearing all sides of an argument.
  6. Travel. Traveling while you are young expands your mind and helps you grow as a person.
  7. Listen Closely to Those Who are Successful. Take note of the people that are doing things right and emulate them.
  8. Learn Financial Responsibility. Learn to manage your money or you will be broke no matter how much money you make later in life.
  9. You Learn More When Things are Hard. Life is hard sometimes. Think of the hard times as learning opportunities rather than set backs.
  10. Success is a Long Road. You won't become a CEO or manager overnight. It takes years to learn a trade a become successful. Practice patience in your journey.
These things will make more sense the older you become. If you are a young person reading this list I wish you the best. Sometimes there are short term setbacks and gains that make life seem like a game of chutes and ladders. However, you must ignore these and play the game of life with the long term goal in mind. Follow the advice above and the odds of good fortune will be on your side.