I Are A College Grad-U-Ate

What will you tell your new high school senior as they venture out into the real world?  Go to college, find a trade, take time off and discover your purpose?

More and more people are looking at college as an expensive alternative to starting their own business.  In addition, many well-known multimillionaires are beginning to question the cost-benefit of higher education.

Warren Buffett in a conversation with MBA students as reported by Market Folly.com, indicated that college was not for everyone.  Mr. Buffett went on to say; “The best education you can get is investing in yourself. But this doesn’t always mean college or university. I have two degrees but I don’t have them on my wall, in fact I don’t even know where they are.  I used to be afraid of public speaking, and I realized that I have to do that someday. I do have one diploma I display from Dale Carnegie’s Public Speaking Course and it only cost me $100.”

Now I’m not saying that college education is bad. It just depends on what your life plan is.  If you plan on working for a company owned by someone else, then a college education is vital.  It shows the world that you can complete something to its ultimate goal.  Higher education also gives you a framework or methodology of solving complex problems.  Both of these are good ends unto themselves.

I wonder though, does a higher education give you the training to solve real world problems?  I have always marveled at the phrase ‘thinking outside the box’.  Whose box?  When was it placed there?  If we are supposed to think outside the box, why would we want to learn what is inside the box is in the first place?

As I age I find that I spend a lot of my time reading.  Trying to find out new and better ways to solve problems.  To be called a renaissance man, in my mind, is the ultimate compliment.  I would urge anyone to invest in themselves and that does not necessarily mean college.

Look at those that are successful and find out what they are reading.  Most publish a list of ‘must reads’ on their blog.  Look to Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, James Altucher.  Listen to their podcasts.  Much of the higher education I am getting, at the age of fifty-five, is free or close to it.

Amazon must think I am starting a library for my community.  Books like Platform Revolution, Conscious Capitalism, Start With Why can be found well-worn and on my bookshelves.  My wife, Kathie, can attest to the fact that most nights I fall asleep listening to a podcast.  Sometimes I have to restart the thing two or three times to review a point.

If you are in a particular industry, look to the mavericks that are changing the way business is done.  The people that inspire a different way to look at your industry.  I have done that in my real estate business.  The result is that I’m never out of my comfort zone because I create my own space.

So is college for all?  Chart your own path.  As grandma use to say, “Book learnin’ won’t hurt you none.”

Leave a Comment: