“I discovered…that if you finish school, get a degree, join the work force at twenty four and stay there, you will never financially catch-up the ten years you would have had if you had begun work at fourteen.” –Brian Sher
Have you noticed that it seems as though the so called “uneducated” folks and school “drop outs” are the ones who do better financially today than most of the educated. Many of the wealthy and famous people we know today had very little or no formal education.
If we take a closer look, we would observe that most of the big companies, conglomerates, industries in Nigeria are owned by people most of whom never really had significant formal education and these individuals are among wealthiest in the country and in the continent! But these individuals are not illiterate–as a matter of fact, they are very financially savvy, business-literate and know how to maximize resources profitably.
In my search for an answer to the question, “Why do the ‘uneducated’ and school ‘drop-outs’ do better financially?”, I found out a lot about myself and learnt so much about life that I have been ignorant of or perhaps ignoring. I also gained some respect for this group of people who society calls uneducated. These people may be classified by the educated and elite as uneducated, drop-outs, etc, but I can tell you that when it comes to matters of money, finances and investments, these guys are “highly educated.” They have discovered their own genius, their passion, and their unique purpose and have dedicated themselves to learn, hone their skills and passionately stick with that purpose as demostrated by the likes of Chief Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Group, Linda Ikeji of lindaikeji.blogspot.com, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (Africa's richest man yet by Forbes), Tuface Idibia and a host of others.
Have you ever wondered why you are not taught about money in school? It is because the school system does not know how to do this! One cannot give (teach) what one does not have. You would hardly find ‘hard-core’ academics who are entrepreneurs or think like entrepreneurs, with financial proofs, in the school system. I’m talking about people who own, have owned or started a business venture before and understand the nitty-gritty of being in business, not just some professor or PhD holder dishing out some lecture notes, principles, tips and theories off of some textbook which have never been tested in a real life business scenario and have no firsthand experience with which to communicate the knowledge which they seek to pass with passion.
Creating wealth is a process which cannot be learned or studied in the academic environment with the academic methods, paradigms and mentality as it were. It requires an enterprising attitude, a certain state of mind, money management skills, communication skills, selling abilities and a number of other skills and abilities. But most importantly, what forms the basis of the entire process is the passion to meet needs, provide services or solve problems in society for a profit. This could form the ‘idea’ that might simply be a solution to a particular problem; a better, faster or easier way of accomplishing a task; or a product or service that meets an identified need. It does not necessarily have to be something new, complex or extra-ordinary-even though they sometimes are.
Apart from being creative and generating ideas or starting a business, one key distinguishing quality that makes the so-called uneducated do better financially than the well educated is the ability to manage money. You may have observed several well schooled persons who have attempted starting a business or investing in some venture and failed; not because the business or investment in itself was unprofitable but because of lack of proper financial management. I know of a relative who once worked for one of the biggest and richest multinational oil companies in the Niger Delta and got a huge gratuity on retirement running into millions of naira a number of years back. A few years after receiving the huge sum, those millions could not be properly accounted for and most of it was lost to fraudsters and some dubious schemes. I have met several people, friends as well as acquaintances who got a hold of some large sums of money at some time, and then rather than become more prosperous than they were previously, they became poorer and worse off after having lost the money through bad management.
It seems to me that the uneducated, school drop-outs have a certain mindset, consciousness, mentality or knowledge imbibed by them that distinguishes them from others and enables them to prosper and do better financially. I also think that this can be traced down to the core values, habits and skills not taught or imbibed in school, but very much available for learning on the street. As a result of this, millions of folks graduate from school, some with a Masters degree or even a PhD, very highly schooled, but financially ignorant and illiterate. Perhaps we need to redefine the word education for ourselves.
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