The Self-Taught Trillionaire: Why Formal Education Is Overrated

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What’s in today’s newsletter?

  • Formal Education is Overrated: The traditional path of formal education often fails to equip individuals with the skills truly needed for success in today’s world. Real-world experience and self-directed learning are far more valuable.

  • The Power of Self-Education: Self-education allows individuals to tailor their learning to their specific goals and interests, fostering a lifelong love of learning and personal growth.

  • Building a Personal Monopoly: By combining unique skills, experiences, and passions, individuals can create a niche for themselves and become irreplaceable experts in their field, achieving both personal fulfillment and financial success.

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Let’s be honest. 

Your college degree is gathering dust. 

Maybe it’s propping up a wobbly table leg or serving as a makeshift coaster for your morning coffee. (To be honest, that’s probaly giving it too much credit).

When you went to college, in between cramming useless facts and binge drinking, you probably learned how to think critically, analyze data, or write a semi-coherent essay, but did you learn anything truly valuable? 

Did it teach you how to build wealth, create businesses, or impact the world?

I’m willing to bet the most valuable lessons you’ve learned have come after you tossed that graduation cap in the air. 

The Myth of the Ivory Tower

See, we’ve been sold a lie. 

We’re told that formal education is the key to success, the golden ticket to a comfortable life. 

But look around you. 

The world’s most successful entrepreneurs, innovators, and creators often have unconventional paths. 

Many are self-taught, their classrooms the boardrooms of their own companies or the vast expanse of the internet.

Take Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg — college dropouts who revolutionized their industries. 

Or consider the countless successful creators and solopreneurs who never set foot in a lecture hall, building empires from their bedrooms armed with nothing more than Wi-Fi and an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

The Self-Education Revolution

We’re in the midst of a self-education revolution. 

The internet has democratized knowledge, making it accessible to anyone with a curious mind. 

Online courses, podcasts, books, articles — the tools for self-improvement are at our fingertips.

Formal education teaches you how to learn, but self-education teaches you what to learn. 

It’s about identifying your passions, your interests, and your goals, and then finding the resources that will propel you towards them.

Why Self-Education Is the New MBA

Here’s the thing: the skills most valuable in today’s economy aren’t taught in traditional classrooms. 

  • They’re not about memorizing facts or regurgitating theories. 

  • They’re about adaptability, creativity, and the ability to learn quickly and independently.

These are the skills you develop through self-education. 

  • You become a lifelong learner, constantly seeking out new knowledge and applying it to your life and your work. 

  • You become adaptable, able to pivot when circumstances change and embrace the unexpected. 

  • You become a creator, building your own path instead of following the well-trodden road laid out by others.

But here’s the kicker: self-education is not just about acquiring knowledge. 

It’s about applying that knowledge, experimenting, failing, and learning from your mistakes. It’s about taking action and making things happen.

The Self-Education Toolkit

Now, let’s dive deeper into the how — how you can leverage self-education to become the architect of your own destiny.

The beauty of self-education is that it’s personalized. 

You get to choose your own curriculum, your own teachers, and your own pace. 

Here’s a glimpse into the self-education toolkit at your disposal:

  1. The Library of Alexandria 2.0: The internet is your oyster. Dive into online courses (Coursera, Udemy, Skillshare), devour blogs and articles (Wait But Why, Farnam Street), and listen to podcasts (The Tim Ferriss Show, Invest Like the Best).

  2. Mentors & Communities: Seek out mentors who have achieved what you aspire to. Join online communities (Masterminds, subreddits) where you can learn from others and exchange ideas.

  3. Books: Don’t underestimate the power of books. They’re concentrated wisdom, distilled from the minds of some of the world’s greatest thinkers.

  4. Experimentation: Don’t just consume knowledge; apply it. Start a side hustle, build a website, write a book. The best way to learn is by doing.

The Power of Curiosity

The most effective self-learners understand these tools and leverage them, propelled by an unyielding curiosity. 

They actively seek out knowledge, question prevailing assumptions, and embrace novel concepts. They don’t shy away from ambiguity; instead, they view it as a chance to expand their understanding.

But learning isn’t merely about accumulating facts; it’s about the art of learning. It’s about synthesizing information, connecting disparate ideas, and forging your own unique understanding. It’s about applying knowledge to overcome challenges and create something of value.

The Art of Learning

To cultivate this mindset, nurture your inquisitive nature. 

Interrogate the world around you. 

Delve into subjects that fascinate you, even if they seem unrelated to your primary goals. 

Follow your intellectual curiosity wherever it may lead. 

Remember, learning is not confined to a classroom; the entire world is your educational playground.

Learning isn’t just about absorbing information. It’s about synthesizing it, connecting the dots, and making it your own. 

It’s about applying what you’ve learned to solve problems and create value.

Here are a few tips to optimize your learning:

  • Focus on fundamentals: Master the core principles of your chosen field before diving into the minutiae.

  • Practice spaced repetition: Review information regularly to reinforce your memory.

  • Teach others: The best way to solidify your understanding of a concept is to explain it to someone else.

  • Embrace failure: Mistakes are not setbacks; they’re learning opportunities.

The Self-Taught Advantage

Self-taught individuals often have a distinct advantage over their formally educated counterparts. 

They’re not confined by traditional thinking or outdated curricula. 

They’re not afraid to challenge the status quo and forge their own path.

They’re also incredibly resourceful and adaptable.

 They’ve learned to navigate the world on their own terms, to find solutions to problems, and to create opportunities where others see none.

Because the world is changing rapidly. 

The skills you need to thrive tomorrow may not even exist today. 

The ability to learn quickly and independently is more valuable than ever before.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

The Personal Monopoly

Let’s talk about turning your self-education into tangible results — building your own personal monopoly.

The concept of a “personal monopoly” might sound a bit grandiose, but hear me out. 

It’s about creating a unique niche for yourself, a space where you’re the go-to expert, the irreplaceable resource.

Your personal monopoly is built on the intersection of your passions, skills, and experiences. 

It’s the unique value proposition you bring to the world, the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd.

N.B. The Intersection of Mastery, Passion and Profit: 

Too many people chase after “hot” industries or try to copy the success of others. But the most successful entrepreneurs and creators are those who build businesses around their mastery, passions profits. They solve problems they genuinely care about, creating products and services that resonate with their audience.

Identify your passions. What are you genuinely interested in? What problems do you see in the world that you want to solve? What unique skills and experiences do you bring to the table?

The answers to these questions will guide you towards your personal monopoly.

Becoming an “Only1”

The key to building a personal monopoly is to become an “Only1.” This means being the only person who does what you do in the way that you do it. It’s about combining your unique skills, experiences, and perspectives to create something truly original and valuable.

Here’s how you can start building your Only1 brand:

  1. Embrace your individuality: Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Let your personality shine through in your work.

  2. Combine your skills: Look for ways to combine your seemingly disparate skills and interests. This is where the magic happens.

  3. Tell your story: Share your journey, your struggles, and your triumphs. People connect with authenticity.

  4. Create exceptional value: Deliver products, services, or content that exceeds expectations.

  5. Build a community: Surround yourself with like-minded people who support your vision.

The more you learn, the more you grow. The more you grow, the more opportunities present themselves. The more opportunities you seize, the more you learn. It’s a virtuous cycle, a self-education flywheel that propels you towards your goals.

Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Never stop building your personal monopoly.

The Finite vs. The Infinite Game

Now, let’s zoom out and consider the bigger picture — the infinite game of life and how self-education empowers you to play it to win.

In his book “Finite and Infinite Games,” James Carse introduces a powerful concept: There are two types of games in life — finite and infinite.

  • Finite games: These have a clear beginning, middle, and end. They have set rules and a defined winner. Think of a football game or a chess match.

  • Infinite games: These have no end. The goal is not to win, but to keep playing. The rules are fluid and constantly evolving. Think of life, business, or personal growth.

Most of us are conditioned to play finite games. 

We’re taught to compete, to win, to be the best. But the most fulfilling and impactful lives are lived in the infinite game.

Self-Education as a Tool for the Infinite Game

Self-education is the ultimate tool for playing the infinite game. 

It’s about continuous learning, growth, and adaptation. It’s about embracing change and seeing every challenge as an opportunity to level up.

The self-educated individual is not playing to win a specific game. 

They’re playing to stay in the game, to keep growing, to keep evolving. 

They understand that the journey is more important than the destination.

The Self-Educated Trillionaire

In the infinite game of life, wealth is not measured solely in dollars and cents. 

It’s measured in experiences, relationships, impact, and personal growth.

The self-educated trillionaire is not necessarily the richest person in the world, but they are the richest in spirit. 

They’ve cultivated a wealth of knowledge, skills, and experiences that enrich their lives and the lives of those around them.

They’re the creators, the innovators, the leaders who are shaping the future. 

They’re the ones who are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, who are not afraid to take risks and embrace the unknown.

Your Invitation to the Infinite Game

I invite you to join the ranks of the self-educated trillionaires. 

Embrace the infinite game of life. 

& Never stop learning, growing, and creating.


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