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So you've made up your mind that making enough money to enjoy life is a priority. You have already decided on the type of home you want to have, where you want to live, the type of car you want to drive and the vacations you cannot wait to enjoy. There is only one problem: Finding the ability to make enough money to first and foremost take care of your needs, then, as circumstances permit, enjoy your wants.
When people think of earning something, they think of earning money. However, there are many more things that we earn in life than just money. Some of these things include respect, love, promotions, certificates, degrees and recognition. The most effective way to earn these things is through learning. Although learning can come in many different formats, the key is to be open to that learning when it comes.
There has been much written about whether having an education is critical to finding a good job. There is no question that there have been both high school and college drop-outs who have made it big; however, if you are using that as your only example and guide, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Even with the success stories of those who have made great things with less education, your ability to increase your learning can directly impact your potential earnings.
There are many studies and reports that show the direct correlation between the level of education earned and the potential annualized income. That correlation shows that the more formal education obtained, the better opportunity for higher-paying jobs.
There are many more things that we earn in life than just money. Some of these things include respect, love, promotions, certificates, degrees and recognition.
What often happens with this information about education and income is that people take it way too literally. What is trying to be portrayed is that the opportunity for increased earnings is there. At the end of the day, people will find ways to become successful with or without education.
For those of us who have found success in your life and careers, you have an obligation to help youth understand the value and importance of learning. Here is something to think about as you are working with youth: You cannot rise to low expectations. If you set good goals and work hard to achieve them, you will be able to see more opportunities come into your life. If your goals do not allow you to stretch and work hard, even if you achieve them, you may find out that you have not achieved your image of success.
Here are some reasons that understanding that one can learn from many sources is so important:
- Increases knowledge
- Helps you critically think
- Gives you confidence
- Teaches you good habits
- Helps build a strong foundation
- Opens the door to job opportunities
- Provides the opportunity to make more money
- Allows you to be an example for others
Because learning will come from many different sources, not just a formal education, it's important to be aware of what these sources can teach you. Ask the following questions to ensure you are maximizing your opportunities to learn:
- Am I focusing on what I am passionate about?
- What did I learn today?
- What are the goals I am focused on today?
- Did I put service before self today?
There should be no question that our ability to learn will provide us more happiness in this life. When we are happier, we can enjoy life and all that it has to offer us. That said, we can’t underestimate the true advantages of those who work hard to graduate from both high school and college. The opportunities for success will increase as one takes the time to learn and pursue worthwhile educational goals.
We should applaud those who have found the determination and ability to create success without formal education, but my advice for those who are in the process of setting their sights on the future is this: Give yourself the gift of education, but don’t ever forget that learning is all around you.
We should be thankful for the many teachers who have helped us throughout our lives, but the greatest teacher we ultimately will have will come from life itself. So do not forget that the more you learn about all aspects of life, the more you earn — and not just in money, but many other important areas of your life. If we can help you the youth to learn this now, we will truly be helping build a better tomorrow — but we must, as tomorrow is almost yesterday.
Seth Saunders is currently branch president of the Pembroke Branch (Spanish) and a founding board member of the Pink Shoe Hero Foundation. Seth has been married 15 years to his amazing wife Amber and is the proud father of three wonderful sons.