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Formal Education Vs. Life Education!

I grew up in the traditional way in Canada.  Probably like most of you, I began my academic career from kindergarten and worked my way all the way up to College. I didn’t do too well in my time in school, mostly due to the fact that I didn’t enjoy it. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy learning, but rather, what they were teaching me.

If you equate the amount of time spent going to school, getting an education and getting a job, it would add up to 15-20 years depending on how much post-secondary education you committed to.  I my case, I chose to do a two year program in college after high school, so I could immediately get out there and make some money.

formal eduation1Now, as you look back to your school years, or perhaps you are still in school, I have one question to ask, “How much of your formal education have you used to live the most abundant, happy and fulfilling life?” This is a typical question I ask to audiences and individuals who I am coaching.  Most of the time, the average person responds with a range between one and five percent.  If indeed that is the case in your life as well, where does the other ninety-five to ninety-nine percent come from. The answer is, “Life Education!”  And guess what?  You never graduate and you never fully complete it.  In other words, it’s ongoing throughout your life no matter what your age, color, sex, creed or how successful you think you are.

Take for example Bill Gates, the genius behind Microsoft and undoubtedly one of the most influential people in the world of technology.  He did go to Harvard, but ended up dropping out.  Someone said of Gates, “He is Harvard’s most successful dropout.”  How do you explain Bill Gates’ success?  Was it what he learned in school?  Did school prepare him for what he was about to undertake?  Was it hunger, drive or passion?

Let me tell you, having studied some of the most prolific people in the world, both past and present, it isn’t formal education that makes the difference between success and failure, but a hunger and drive to live out what you believe you were meant to be here for.

Tony Robbins, as another example, never finished or completed a degree in post-secondary school education before he became the number one strategist and coach in the world, yet he is one of the most influential people in the world today. What he possesses is burning hunger!  What he possesses is a personal drive like no other!  What he possesses is blazing passion and determination to make a difference in the world. He has a powerful purpose and is impacting the lives of everyone in the world, including me.  And today, he fills stadiums of people consistently, year after year for the past 30 years, so people can learn from his example and express themselves fully, to make a difference.

I am all for formal education and how it teaches us structure and basic skills.  But, as for life itself, in my experience, it’s not enough.

Many of the paths I have chosen to walk had little to do with what I learned in traditional school.  It was only after I graduated from college did the real challenges of life surfaced, and I certainly wasn’t prepared for it.

The very first self-help book I read, The Alchemist, literally changed my life.  Today, The Alchemist, is one of the top selling books of all time, and still remains one of my favorites.  What I learned in that very book, not only shifted my perspective, but it was the impetus for me to transform my life from a “follow the rules of society,” type guy, to a “march to your own drum beat and express ALL of who you are,” type guy.  That is who I am today – continuously learning as a student of life and love, and wanting to teach that life and love to the rest of the world.  My motto is simple, “Be a better ME, so I am equipped to teach you to be a better YOU! And, together we can change the world!”

Here are some basic starter tips to begin your journey called, “Life University”:

Begin reading biographies of extraordinary people and books in the self-help field.  If you haven’t already read, The Alchemist, that would be a great start. Awakening the Giant Within, by Tony Robbins, is another great one.  As A Man Thinketh, by James Allen, is an old classic.  

What are 3 things in life that you have been putting on hold that you are really interested in?  Pick one of those and begin the task of learning more about that activity, hobby or work? Study it. Learn about it. Set some time during the day to immerse yourself in that activity.  Give yourself this gift of being a kid again and explore the world.

Go and interview a person that you admire.  Trust me, more so than not, that person would be more than happy to tell you their story and what they’ve learned. 

Be spontaneous.  If you want to experience life to the fullest, being spontaneous is one of the best ways to a light a fire in your life.  Just spontaneously go somewhere and live in the moment.  

Write a letter to yourself as if the person writing the letter is twenty years older than you are now.  What advice would this person give you?  This is a very powerful experience. 


To all of your endeavors, dreams, and wishes, peace and eternal love!




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