“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
While school is important, it is finite. Education, on the other hand, is infinite. Hence, that is the difference between making a living and making a fortune.
At some point, formal schoolcomes to an end. It is true you can take classes for the rest of your life. Those are the career students. However, career students tend to lack the education to turn their knowledge into bold, practical and lucrative results. Therefore, it is your education that matters more than school.
If you doubt that, look at Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Steve Jobs, Kirk Kerkorian and many others. These men lacked an appropriate formal education. Yet, they were self-educated. The results of their accomplishments, by far, tower the average person with tremendous schooling.
As I said, school is important. It provides you with information in a specific subject. It teaches you complex problem solving and effective communication. At the same time, we live in a dynamic world. In many cases, information is obsolete shortly after it is learned.
Furthermore, it is not what you learn in school. It is what you learn to do with what you learn. The ability to put theoretical knowledge to practical use is also a skill that is learned. It is useful if this education is inherited from your environment – family, friends, associates, etc. However, this skill requires constant education.
As an example, when you look at the MP3 player, it was a device that was in existence for some time. It was Steve Jobs’ ability to educate himself on how to turn what already existed in to something that never existed.
That kind of education has nothing to do with your age or formal schooling. In fact, if you are older, you should have the advantage over individuals much younger. Why? You have experience and a broader perspective of the world. Your experience and deeper insights allow you to see further into the future and you have a better understanding of human behavior.
Never stop learning. Find opportunities to educate yourself. If you don’t find them, create an environment that will feed you knowledge and challenge your current beliefs. Befriend people who think differently than you or have occupations that are unrelated to yours. That way you will always grow beyond what you already know.